Paraguay 0- 0 Venezuela (5-3)
How it happened: Both nations managed to win book their place in the semi-final courtesy of quarter-final victories strongly against the run of play. Perhaps unsurprisingly, last night’s match in Mendoza began brightly before devolving into a scrappy and defensive affair.
Of the two teams, Venezuela looked by far the more dangerous, but struggled to capitalise on their early attacking dominance. Near misses mounted, culminating in Oswaldo Vizcarraldo’s header finding the net just before half-time.
It should have been a goal– it was a goal– but referee Francisco Chacon deemed two uninvolved Venezuelans to have been interfering with play.
Unfortunately, Chacon’s night wasn’t to be without further controversy, with the Mexican referee heavily criticised for only booking Paraguay’s Dario Veron for a headbutt in extra-time.
After Paraguayan keeper Villar repelled Franklin Lucena’s weak effort in the penalty shootout, it fell to Veron t0 score the penalty that booked Paraguay’s place in the final.
Sadly, the irony proved too much for Venezuelans.
Key man: Mexican referee Francisco Chacon. Sure, they’re expected to do their job under nearly impossible circumstances, but this was a performance that decided the course of the game.
What this means: In spite of their failure to win a single match in normal (or extra) time at this year’s Copa, Paraguay progress to face Uruguay in the final. Not only that, but shootouts aside, they’ve only managed to find the back of the net on two occasions!